Singled Out: High Tone Son of a Bitch's Wicked Threads

Michael Angulia | 03-20-2020

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High Tone Son of a BitchCover art courtesy Freeman Promotions

High Tone Son of a Bitch released their brand new EP "Wicked Threads" this week and to celebrate we asked Paul Kott to tell us about the title track. The EP comes in their new "Lifecycles" collection, which includes the new EP and remastered versions of 3 previous EPs. Here is the story:

Wicked Threads is the 3rd song and off our newest EP of the same name. The whole EP is a concept album that spans the past 12,000 years of human history in three songs. It examines the impact on us of the emergence of class systems - including believing in gods and the development of organized religions, priesthoods, rulers and ruled, and economic classes. The song "Wicked Threads" is set in the modern era of late-stage capitalism, in the wake of thousands of years of these systems of control holding sway over humanity.

I came of age as a teenager up in a dead rust belt former textile mill town in Maine called Lewiston. It was a really hardscrabble town, economically depressed with no hope in sight. Many generations of the people of who live and die in these towns all across America and the world have a long history of being f***ed over by wealthy elites, spending their lives laboring way and having the wealth their work creates stolen from them by rich fat cats. Many of these same people seem to venerate those who are exploiting them, to adore them. The attitude many people had in that town was that the time when the mills were in operation was the good old days. People got the arms crushed in cloth presses and stuff like that, it was grueling work. I didn't understand why the people didn't just band together to start something new, or form work collectives or something, but people had this paternalistic point of view that they had to wait for some rich guy to come along and save them, make things the way they were before. There was almost a worship of the idea of a return to the days when the mills were running full steam and the bosses rang bells to tell them what to do and when. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, to love your captors, love your abusers. So this song is a commentary on that, it looks at the destructive impact and devastation these systems leave behind them for the majority while a minority live lavishly. It looks at how people crawl into the arms of comfort, even when it is destroying them and their environment, rather than struggle and break the paradigm to find real freedom.

When writing Wicked Threads, I wanted to develop a dark ballad in a pretty simple conventional pop structure. I wanted to keep it under 5 minutes long. For me, that's unusual, I write a lot of stuff that's in unconventional formats and time signatures, and a lot of the songs end up being pretty long. To give the tune dynamics, the instrumentation and interplay between the instruments was an important part of building the song. The outro had to get really big and dissipate into ruin, that was important. So I asked John Brookhouse of the our record label mates, Boston band Worshipper, to join us as a guest lead guitar player on the outro. John also grew up in Lewiston, we lived down the street from each other growing up. HTSOB tracked the song at Sharkbite in Oakland, on the same recording console that was used to make Pink Floyd's "The Wall". Billy mixed the album at his studio, Everything Hz, in Portland, Oregon. John recorded his lead guitar part at his studio, Pressed to Death, in Salem, Massachusetts.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself right here!

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